Paying too much for an audit, business person looking at file with magnifying glassMost of the time auditors are perceived as the bad guys because they ask a lot of awkward questions and can charge steep fees. On top of that they can cause you a lot of stress and create an uncertain environment or even fear that things will be found in an audit. Going through an audit can seem quite daunting!

To allay these fears and minimise the risk of paying too much for an audit, there are number of simple things that can be done. These include:

  • Plan your work well in advance
  • Research your auditor/s
  • Get references of the work that they have done for others
  • Get at least three quotes
  • Interview them and see how they could add value to your business
  • Check whether they really have experience in your industry
  • Meet with them and communicate your requirements
  • Understand the way they will approach their work
  • Look at whether they will be utilising senior or junior staff
  • Carefully read through the Engagement Letter
  • Look out for “locking in terms” and “provisions” they are putting to charge for extra hours
  • Watch out for scope creep
  • See if they can improve the fee if you engage for (say) 3 years
  • Have all your paperwork in good order
  • Ask for a list of things that will be required for the audit
  • Consider assisting the auditor with doing some aspects of the work yourself
  • Allocate proper time and staffing resources
  • Don’t deviate from the agreed deadline
  • Consider getting a second opinion on the fee estimate; and
  • Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate

Technology and Online Capability

With the global COVID-19 pandemic, many firms have developed their online capabilities and embraced technology to a new degree. The advantage of this for clients is that some processes have been streamlined, such as minimising on-site fieldwork and utilising secure online file sharing which increases efficiencies and keeps costs low. Audit firms that embrace digital resources will be capable of delivering economical audits without compromising on quality.

As with so many things, you get what you pay for – so shopping around for a cheap audit may sometimes not be the best decision for your organisation. However, an experienced mid-tier firm with a good reputation is likely to deliver a quality and cost-effective audit and help you to avoid paying too much for an audit.

If you are interested in learning more about our audit services, please contact Audit and Assurance Director Sungesh Singh on or phone (09) 839-2184.